German automotive major Volkswagen Group has set up a new artificial intelligence (AI) company, known as AI Lab, to incubate new AI-based digital products and collaborate globally. 

The AI Lab will primarily focus on identifying and developing AI concepts with goal of producing early prototypes and facilitating their deployment. 

It will explore new product ideas from around the world and work with technology companies in Europe, China, and North America to leverage the innovation potential and speed of the AI sector, the company said.  

Volkswagen said it aims to streamline collaboration with tech companies to optimise the use of AI innovations. 

The company added that it recognises significant potential of AI in areas such as high-performance speech recognition, services that integrate users’ digital ecosystems with their vehicles, and extended vehicle functions.  

These functions could involve AI-optimised charging cycles for electric vehicles, predictive maintenance, and the integration of vehicles with users’ homes, commonly referred to as “smart home” technology. 

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Volkswagen has already initiated exploratory discussions with international tech companies regarding the first products from the AI Lab.  

Carsten Helbing will serve as CEO and Carmen Schmidt as CLO & CBO on the AI Lab board of management.  

The Volkswagen, Audi, and Porsche brand management boards’ members will make up the supervisory board of the new company. 

Volkswagen Group and Porsche CEO Oliver Blume said: “We want to offer our customers genuine added value with AI. We aim to link external digital ecosystems with the vehicle, creating an even better product experience. Collaboration with technology companies is crucially important for us.” 

Volkswagen Group research and development (R&D) head and Porsche member of the executive board, R&D Michael Steiner said: “With our new ‘AI Lab’, we are combining technological expertise, flexibility and speed in collaboration with external partners. This will be crucial in the highly dynamic AI sector. 

“We will pursue highly promising initiatives in the marketplace, together with partners where this is necessary, irrespective of existing arrangements and other links in series production.”